The VUSE Disposable
VUSE, an e cigarette from R.J. Reynolds Vapor Company, is being test marketed in a couple of states around the country. Unfortunately for Spinfuel eMagazine, they are not available anywhere near us. Fortunately for us the vape community, and in particular our readers that access Spinfuel eMagazine through our Facebook page, are spread all over the country, and then some.
Within 12 hours of posting on our Facebook Timeline that we were interested in reviewing the VUSE, Greg Robinson informed us that they were sold in his town and would gladly pick up a couple of them and send them our way. In fact, when the package arrived just a couple of days later Greg had sent us an additional VUSE at his own expense. Do we have a great community of Vapers or what? Thank you Greg for making this review possible. (Can I get a nice round of applause for Greg Robinson please?)
The VUSE is the first foray into electronic cigarettes from the behemoth that is RJ Reynolds, out of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Technically, the company is an offshoot, or subsidiary of RJ Reynolds called RY Reynolds Vapor Company, and its creation is for RJ Reynolds to begin to enter the electronic cigarette market, now a multi-billion dollar enterprise and growing exponentially.
RJ Reynolds Vapor Company says the Vuse will sell for around $10 each when it goes nationwide; we (Greg and Spinfuel) paid $15 each for them from a reseller in North Carolina. For the sake of the review I am going to evaluate the product as if they were priced at $10 rather than the $15 we paid.
VUSE – What It Is
VUSE battery is powered by what RY Reynolds calls ‘Smart Technology’ which is supposedly designed to monitor and regulate the power, heat and cartomizer performance so that each drag or puff is a ‘perfect’ each time.
With this Smart Technology RY Reynolds hope to give its customers the best vaping experience they’ve ever had with an electronic cigarette. Below I’ll give you my impression of this ‘Smart Technology’ in action and whether or not RJ Reynolds is onto something.
The VUSE was designed and is assembled right here in the US. After seeing, holding, and using the VUSE it is easy to see that the product is several quality steps above other disposables, no doubt due to the fact that it is made in the US.
The VUSE disposable is packaged in a blister pack, with a plastic cap over the tip and wrapped securely around the air hole on the side. Once you remove that wrap the electronic cigarette comes to life and can be used simply by taking a drag. Note* We’ve seen the photos on the Internet of the plastic boxes containing the VUSE, but the ones we received were simple ‘cards’ with a VUSE sealed in the blister plastic.
It is a heavy disposable, made of metal, and you will no doubt feel a bit guilty about tossing it in the trash when you’ve depleted it. It is far from being biodegradable. I feel that way about every cartomizer, clearomizer, and bottle of eLiquid I throw away, but these attractive disposables just look too good to toss in the trash. I hope they begin a recycling program at some point.
Flavor – Excellent
After removing the VUSE from its blister pack, removing the cap and stripping off the sticky paper covering the air hole I took my first, long drag. I wasn’t expecting much in the way of vapor, throat hit, or even taste from the VUSE but as it turns out, from the first drag to the last it was an amazing experience for a disposable e-cigarette, ah hell, it was a terrific vape for any kind of e-cigarette.
The ‘flavor’ of VUSE is, without a doubt, the best tasting flavor to come out of a disposable in like, forever. It tastes a bit like tobacco with hints of chocolate and caramel notes. It is a sophisticated flavor that sets a new standard for disposable tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes. I found myself wishing the eLiquid used in the VUSE was available in bottles so that I could fill my own cartomizers and clearomizers. I can safely say that I’ve never said that about any other disposable e-cigarette.
After passing the VUSE (making sure to count every puff) around the office everyone agreed that as far as disposable e-cigarettes go the VUSE was the best tasting one they’ve have had.
The VUSE is no slacker in the vapor department either. With just a 3-5 second drag I got an enormous amount of vapor from each pull. It outperformed every disposable e-cigarette I’ve had in the past, and whether or not that so-called ‘Smart Technology’ actually makes a difference or is just public relations double-speak, all I can say is that every puff was just as good as the last. I couldn’t help myself from walking around the office uttering under my breath things like “Wow”, “I love this thing”, and “This is the future right here”… Yes, I was blown away by the incredible flavor, vapor, throat hit, and consistency… until….
…. It died… exactly 97 puffs in… 97 puffs in less than two and a half hours.
What a truly disappointing experience. I really wanted this thing to work. Hell, I even considered, briefly, that if it lasted as long as they claimed, that I might pick up a case of them each month and make the switch permanent. Only now, realizing it would take 3 or 4 VUSE e-cigarettes to get me through the day, it was just another disposable failure.
Disposable e-Cigarettes – A Reality
Since I had two VUSE e-cigs I decided to hold off using the other one for a day or so. I wanted to think about the implications of the 97 puffs, how I vaped it, and why all disposable e-cigarettes ultimately fail to meet my expectations.
It took a while, but when the truth about disposables flashed through my mind I knew I had stumbled on to the truth of the whole disposable category and how I had been judging against the wrong criteria.
The Missing Link
There is something, some truth that is spoken about in e-cigarette forums dozens, maybe hundreds, of times a day that for the most part all Vapers know to be true but others, non-Vapers, do not know. It is this; Vapers vape a lot more than smokers smoke.
We all know this to be true. Hell, if I counted the number of puffs/drags I take everyday from my e-cigarette and applied that number to tobacco cigarettes I would be in the category of a “4+ packs a day” smoker.
I’m a chain Vaper, like tens of thousands of others, I vape all the time. Why not? It’s safe. Harmless even. Hell, maybe even beneficial to lung health. And cheap. There isn’t a single reason that I can see for not vaping anytime I have the urge. I call it ‘pacify vaping’ and since I first used the term several months ago I’ve heard from hundreds of people, all telling me that they too ‘pacify vape’.
That’s the ‘disconnect’ for disposable e-cigarettes.
The Disposable e-Cigarette is Not For Pacify Vapers
Before opening the 2nd Vuse I made the decision to treat this one differently. I love vaping, and I believe that there is nothing inherently unsafe with vaping, so I didn’t want to change my vaping habits to evaluate this 2nd Vuse. But I also wanted to give the VUSE an honest shot.
When I smoked I was a pack a day smoker, meaning that 20 normal filtered cigarettes would last me 24 hours, I never smoked when I got up in the morning; I always waited until I had had a cup of coffee or two, until I was fully awake, dressed for work, out the door. A typical tobacco cigarette used to take me about 7 minutes to finish; afterwards I’d put it out in the ashtray and carry on with my day. It wasn’t until an hour or more that I would want another one. But, as a Vaper it’s more like 7 minutes out of an hour where I don’t vape, 53 minutes are spent vaping. In order to properly judge a disposable I had to flip that around and treat the disposable as I did tobacco cigarettes. Because the makers of disposable e-cigarettes believe that’s how Vapers vape. And they do, in the beginning.
For maybe a month a new Vaper will attempt to maintain the same schedule that they had when they smoked. At first the e-cigarette will get picked up and vaped for 5-8 minutes, put down and then left alone for an hour or more. Heavy smokers notwithstanding, in the beginning vaping provided a similar experience. It’s when a Vaper moves forward into larger batteries, increased eLiquid capacity, and so on that vaping gets kicked up a notch and before long it’s nearly a constant habit. And it’s something many of us don’t like to admit.
When a company like RJ Reynolds develops a product like the VUSE they do so based on the smoking habits of current smokers (they have mountains of data on smokers), not the vaping habits of current Vapers. People like me, people that pacify vape, or people that use larger batteries and 5ML clearomizers; we’re not the target audience for disposable e-cigarettes. I’m the wrong person to review a product like the VUSE, unless I am willing to put myself into the shoes of a smoker and not a 2+ years Vaper. So that’s what I did.
This time I decided I would apply my old pack-a-day habit to the VUSE, and in between I would vape with my personal hardware and eLiquid. I would pick up the VUSE, vape leisurely for 7 minutes or so, put it away and go back to work. I wouldn’t touch it again for at least an hour, sometimes two hours, depending on what I was doing and how I would have handled that task when I smoked. Instead, I picked up my personal e-cigarette and vaped like I usually do. It didn’t take long to realize that all this time I had misjudged disposable e-cigarettes. The VUSE wound up taking me through a little more than a day of vaping, or about as long as a pack of cigarettes would last me.
When evaluated this way, as a smoker vaping his or her first e-cigarette, the results were drastically better. The VUSE works as advertised, when used as advertised.
Kicking The Habit With A VUSE
I would highly recommend the VUSE as a smoker’s first experience with electronic cigarettes. It’s the best tasting disposable out there, the vapor is every bit as voluminous as cigarette smoke, and it satisfies like a real cigarette.
I would be willing to bet that most smokers, given the chance, would dump their cigarettes if they could replace them with a product like the VUSE. However, at $10 each it’s going to be a hard sale.
A VUSE will last about the same time as a single pack of cigarettes will last a normal smoker, and to get at that audience a disposable needs to be no more expensive than the cigarettes they want to replace. In addition, companies like RJ Reynolds need to make it clear that if a smoker deviates from their usual smoking pattern the VUSE is not going to last as long as the smoker thinks/hopes it will. That generally accepting warning we see everywhere that reads “Depending on the vaping habits” or some such thing isn’t clear enough. They need to spell it out. “Deviate from your usual smoking pattern is going to give you more or less puffs than you expect.” It’s time for some honest information.
RJ Reynolds has invested a fortune in the VUSE and I hope they are learning a lot about Vapers in their testing sites. They need to realize that once someone leaves tobacco behind the disposable is just a stepping-stone toward rechargeable batteries and a much different habit taking shape. If RJ Reynolds, and any other company want a slice of the e-cigarette market they need to be honest in their marketing and refuse to make promises their product can’t keep.
There are times I could see myself buying a VUSE. If I were traveling by air it would make an ideal e-cigarette to carry around in the airport and the plane. I could also see myself using one wherever large batteries and clearomizers would be frowned upon. At the movie theater or in a club, at the beach or in the mountains, these are all places where something like a VUSE would be beneficial. But, not at $10 a piece though, they would have to be no more than $5.99 otherwise I’d charge up a couple of eRoll’s and be done with it. The VUSE could be the ‘convenience’ answer for a lot of Vapers, but only if they were affordable.
Bottom Line – Summing Up
So far the best disposable e-cigarette on the market is the VUSE. It has great flavor, producing a lot of vapor, and provides an excellent vaping experience. Use it correctly and you’ll get a pack of traditional cigarette usage from it, vape it like you normally vape and you can expect a couple of hours.
If you’re a smoker looking to see if electronic cigarettes can really become a substitute for smoking you need to buy a VUSE, or two, and discover the truth; yes, e-cigarettes can, and will, get you off tobacco cigarettes. Where you go from there is up to you.
If I were to award 1 to 5 stars for the VUSE it would get the full 5 Stars. My second VUSE is long gone, and I actually miss it. That is a huge deal for me.
The VUSE Solo and System
In addition to the disposable VUSE RJ Reynolds Vapor Company plans to sell a rechargeable version. If they are wise enough to use the exact tobacco formula in their rechargeable prefilled cartomizers I will buy one as soon as I can.
The VUSE “Solo”, aka the ‘Disposable’ and VUSE “System” aka the Rechargeable, will be sold in retail outlets across the country at some point. Right now they are available in Colorado and North Carolina.
VUSE Solo is available in tobacco and menthol. The rechargeable, or “VUSE System” will include the VUSE PowerUnit (battery) and a USB charger and wall adapter as well as a carrying case.
VUSE cartomizers will also be sold along side the VUSE Systems. The rechargeable VUSE ‘System’ will sell for around $30 and the cartomizers will sell in 2-packs for about $5.99. That’s expensive, and hopefully they’ll offer larger packs that will decrease the ‘per cartomizer’ price. They need to be at the Blu Cigs price point of $12 for a pack of 5 to make any real gains. Blu Cigs offers good American Made (Johnson Creek) flavors, so the VUSE will wind up going head to head with Blu.
RJ Reynolds seems to be committed to take the lead in the consumer category for cig-a-like products, and based on my experience with the ‘taste’ and vapor production they just might do it, as long as they manage to stay competitive in the price category and maintain the level of quality I see now in the disposable VUSE.